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Jaime Escalante Sensational Teacher by Ann Byers is based on the life story of Jaime Escalante a new high school teacher in East LA in 1982 who decides to change the lives of his students by preparing them for an advanced placement test in calculus I chose this book because it was a book I read when I was younger and I remember thinking that the teacher did such amazing things with the students Now that I am about to occupy a similar position I wanted to revisit the film and evaluate his methods based on what Ive learned so far as a teacher and pre-service student The book deals with the very timely issues of equity standardized testing funding shortages and the challenges of the inner city school environment When the book opens the socio-economic and cultural demographic of the area is laid out Hispanic workers line the roads and although the area seems quite culturally alive - a mural exclaims We are NOT a minority-- it is obviously economically disadvantaged On the first day of classes Mr Escalante learns that he will be teaching math since the school did not get funding for computers This crossover theme is carried throughout the movie as music and phys-ed teachers teach full math timetables and in many ways qualifies Escalantes success Though he is not a math teacher by trade Escalante does something that all the other teachers couldnt do -- he rises to the occasion His philosophy is simple students will rise to the level of expectations Menendez 1988 All he requests from them is desire Escalante is successful in showing the students that they can get beyond the barrio which before they could not see past He decides that they CAN learn calculus and volunteers to teach the class he takes them on a field trip so they can see where math can take them he leads them successfully through a college credit calculus
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